For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM
CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, FL – SpaceX successfully launched the four ton Egyptian Nilesat 301 telecommunications satellite towards geosynchronous orbit on a 7x recycled Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday afternoon, June 8, from Florida’s Spaceport into briefly blue skies – and did so just in the nick of time ahead of a huge swatch of fast approaching thick storm clouds and rain showers that spawned tornado warnings in central Florida and threatening liftoff.
Nilesat 301 was the first satellite sent to geosynchronous orbit this year – a clear sign 0f the changing launch market now emphasizing smaller satellites constellations at lower orbit, such as SpaceX’s humongous and growing Starlink broadband internet constellation
Starlinks dominate the SpaceX launch schedule
Threatening thunder and rain nearby dissipated in time before launch but returned shortly after launch in the nick of time!
The veteran Falcon 9 flew aloft into clear blue beautiful skies to the east that belied the fast-approaching dark storm from the west that drenched nearby Titusville.
Liftoff of the 229-foot-tall (70-meter) SpaceX recycled Falcon 9 on the NileSat301 mission took place at 5:04 p.m. EDT, or 1701 GMT, on Wednesday, June 8, from seaside Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, right at the opening of a two hour and 29-minute-long launch window to a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).
All nine Merlin 1D first stage engines ignited with 1.7 million pounds of thrust fueled by liquid oxygen (LOX) and RP-1 refined kerosene propellants.
The Nilesat 301 telecommunications payload was orbited for Egypt for civilian and government uses and will serve some 90 million users inside Egpyt and some 270 million users outside throughout Africa, sub Saharan Africa, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.
It will relay digital TV, internet, voice and data services.
The commercial payload was deployed 33 minutes after liftoff upon separation from the upper stage into an initial geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO)
Deployment of Nilesat 301 confirmed pic.twitter.com/TOxuyYAICp
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 8, 2022
On board thrusters will raise Nilesat 301 to geosynchronous orbit at an altitude of some 22,000 miles and 37,000 km over the equator.
Nilesat was built in France by Thales Alenia with a 15 year design lifetime.
The satellite weights 4.1 tons or 9000 pounds and is solar powered
The Nilesat 301 launch is the first of up to six Falcon 9 launches planned for June.
Overall this marks the 23rd launch by SpaceX in 2022 – continuing a blistering launch pace of approximately 1 per week.
The Falcon 9 first stage booster supporting this mission previously supported the launch of GPS III Space Vehicle 04, GPS III Space Vehicle 05, Inspiration4, Ax-1, and two Starlink missions.
Thus it has launched 8 humans to LEO on the private space mission I4 & Ax-1 last year and this past April
The Falcon 9 booster is designated as B1062
This marked the 99th mission flying a reused booster and the 116th successful landing
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Just Read the Instructions droneship pic.twitter.com/ARJ0pjjgAl
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 8, 2022
After stage separation, the first stage landed on the Just Read the Instructions (JRTI) droneship about eight minutes after liftoff, which was prepositioned downrange in the Atlantic Ocean.
Nilesat 301 replaces Nilesat 201 launched in 2010
“We look into the future with many strategic partnerships among our fellow African countries, and for this Nilesat has built its vision towards its natural expansion in the sub-Saharan Africa with the new Nilesat 301 satellite,” Nilesat said.
“Nilesat 301 hosts Ku-band and Ka-band telecom payloads, including 38 transponders, to broadcast signals to Nilesat customers. Nilesat 301 will replace and expand coverage provided by Nilesat 201, reaching new customers in East Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.”
Watch Ken’s commentary about SpaceX missions including Nilesat 301, Transporter-5, Starliner, NASA SLS WDR demo test, NASA Crew-3, Crew 4 and SpaceX AX-1 missions and Starlink and NASA TROPICS 1.
Jun 9/10: WFTV ABC Orlando features my commentary about the upcoming NASA TROPICS 1 & 2 cubesat science launch on an Astra Rocket 3.3 from pad 46 for NASA which will study the formation and evolution of Tropical Cyclones and Hurricanes. Two more launches will follow for 6 TROPICS cubesats altogether over next few months
Jun 8: WFTV ABC Orlando features my commentary about the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of NileSat301 telecom sat for Egypt
June 6/7: WFTV ABC Orlando features my commentary about completing 2nd rollout to pad 39B for 2nd round WDR tanking test, what’s involved in and why its critical to the future of Project Artemis:
May 25/26: WFTV ABC Orlando featured my commentary about the successful ISS undocking and touchdown of Starliner on OFT-2 test flight
May 19/20: WFTV ABC Orlando and Fox 35 Orlando featured my prelaunch and post launch commentary about the critical nature of the Boeing Starliner OFT-2 mission for NASA
May 11: WFTV ABC Orlando News featured my commentary & analysis about Boeing Starliner crew capsule targeting launch May 19 for long delayed OFT2 uncrewed test flight for NASA after completing FRR this afternoon. It must dock at ISS to be considered successful to enable follow-on NASA astronaut flights maybe by late 2022
Apr 29: WKMG CBS 6 with my commentary about the record setting Falcon 9 turnaround of 21 days since the Axiom-1 launch
Apr 22: Fox 35 Orlando features my analysis of the busy week ahead in space with weather delayed Earth return of AX-1 crew this weekend, launch of 4 NASA/ESA Crew-4 astronauts on SpaceX Crew Dragon NET Apr 26 & rollback of NASA SLS to VAB for repairs
Apr 20: WFTV ABC News Orlando features my commentary about the SpaceX static fire and impact of weather induced delays to departure of Ax-1 and launch of Crew-4.
Apr 15/16 & Apr 12/13: WFTV ABC News Orlando and WKMG CBS 6 Orlando featured my comments about NASA SLS WDR wet dress rehearsal countdown and fueling demo test and human launches to ISS:
Apr 6: WFTV ABC 9 Orlando featured my comments about 1st fully private astronaut launch to ISS by SpaceX on AX-1 mission:https://www.wftv.com/news/local/brevard-county/first-all-private-astronaut-mission-iss-set-liftoff-kennedy-space-center-this-week/FYE5QAT735BA7G42O6IVCJGB4Q/
Apr 4 & 5: WFTV ABC News Orlando and Fox 35 Orlando featured my comments about NASA SLS WDR wet dress rehearsal countdown and fueling demo test and human launches to ISS
Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Artemis, SLS, Orion and NASA missions, SpaceX Crew and Cargo Dragons, SpaceX Axiom-1, JWST, IXPE, DART, Lucy Asteroid mission, GOES, SpaceX Starlink, Commercial Crew and Starliner and Crew Dragon, Blue Origin and Space Tourism, and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew 1 & 2 & 3 & 4, ISS, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, NRO spysats and national security missions and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com
Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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